In the journal Nature Aging, researchers have linked the Alzheimer’s risk gene APOE4 to improved visual working memory among elderly people.
The research was conducted by University College London.
“In a population-based cohort born in one week in 1946 (assessed aged 69–71 years), we assessed differential effects of APOE ε4 and β-amyloid pathology (quantified using F-Florbetapir-PET) on visual working memory (object–location binding),” the Nature article states.
The study involved 389 participants deemed cognitively healthy. “In 398 cognitively normal participants, APOE ε4 and β-amyloid had opposing effects on object identification, predicting better and poorer recall, respectively,” the authors wrote in their findings. “ε4 carriers also recalled locations more precisely, with a greater advantage at higher β-amyloid burden.”
The findings demonstrate that ε4 carriers showed superior visual working memory, potentially being beneficial for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease.